Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Trying hard to be in the festive moods

Can anyone decipher the greetings on the float?

I think I have been more in an observer mode than a participant mode later. As such, festive activities did not seem to get me to be active. I felt I was more a passive observer, attempting to capture the actions on digital film.

Anyway, I did a lot of walking today. So much so that I felt my feet were aching by the time that I reached home close to 9 p.m. tonight. The crazy thing was that when I was back home, I still had the urge to walk.

I am looking for a good pair of walking shoes, but I must have been so picky about the colour and the design that I have yet to find my ideal pair.

I shall keep things short, and shall point you to a link which would give you an idea of how I have spent the earlier part of my day.

Please visit: Singapore River Hong Bao 2006 on my other blog.

What lies ahead?

My mood is that of melancholy. Please avoid me if you cannot stand the intense individualism that I may exhibit at times. I observed that at times it could be so intense that people's temper can boil upon hearing my remarks. Yet, it wasn't me who caused that. I cannot make people mad without their consent, can't I? Furthermore, I had no intention to cause people to blow their temper. I was merely intense in my way of self-expression.


I need a breather. I shall put on a pair of walking shoes and go out for a walk.

What lies ahead? I have no clue.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A link to visit

An interesting blog to visit for those who likes classical music: http://theovergrownpath.blogspot.com

In particular, I point to this post that offers some food for thoughts:
The great free MP3 download fallacy yet again.

Does the significant ones appreciate?

I remember one part of the movie, I Not Stupid too depicts the character, Jerry, trying hard to get his parents to attend his upcoming performance in school. He went to the extend of selling all his favourite cards in order to raise enough money in the hope of buying his parents' time to watch his performance.

Maybe this shall start off as a debate. If a child is keen in something that the parents have minimal interest in, should the parents still attend the child's performances anyway?

Or should the child just fit the parents' expectations and do what fits the parents' interests?

Whatever it is. I think I have resigned to the fact that as much as I could invite my parents, I could not expect to see them at most of my performances. Maybe I live in a totally different world from them, a totally different frequency? They don't seem to appreciate what I enjoy. So I began to think, if they do come to support, it is a real bonus. I wonder if they would come to support the upcoming concert that I will be playing in?

It just seemed easier to reframe that it is a total bonus if there was a friend or a family who came to support me in the concert. I wonder if the inherent message would be: Do things that makes oneself feel fulfilled even if it may not gain the support of significant others?

Day 2 of CNY 06

Msfeline has put up a link to Jay Chou's Nocturne and I can't help but say that one can get addicted to listening to it. Thanks Msfeline. I think you have made good recommendations.

Maybe it is a blessing to be in a family whereby visitations on Chinese New Year is rather minimal? Today, I only have one relative's place to visit for the Chinese New Year.

It felt a little odd this year. I received ang baos from two of my relatives who are supposedly my peers (at least we are from similar generations). They got married last year. It felt more odd to receive ang bao from one of them who was a few years younger than me. The other was my peer but was at least a few years older.

The custom in the family has it that only married people give ang baos. I don't know if I should attribute those odd feelings to certain embedded cultural and customary norms? It is as if one becomes aware of the embedded norms. I chose to do nothing much about that awareness.

Culture varies. Correct me if I am wrong, I heard that in Hong Kong, so long as one reaches a particular age (I think it's 21 years old), one is considered of the rightful age to give ang baos. Then I would be giving ang baos too.


Pardon me. Take it that I am anti-social, but I do not have a gift of making small talks with people. It can be draining for a person like me who favour introversion. To cope, I try to strike some kind of meaningful conversation with just a few people. That seems more manageable.

The earlier part of the day was spent reading. I am now reading Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. I decided to nourish my mind a bit by reading. The book lended me some insights of looking at things in ways that I usually would not.

Another part was spent blogging. Maybe I just needed a voice to be heard. Yet, I must have been so intentional in writing things in such abstract manner, that I think few could decipher what I was hoping to express.

One thing that I am pleased about is that I finally took time out to practise on my husband, the double bass. I felt I have been neglecting him for a while. While I have been practising, I was spending more time practising on my boyfriend, the double bass stored in the orchestra's premises.

Today's practices was about at least a total of 1.5 hours in duration. I practised certain segments from Brahms' Second Symphony. I also read Marcello's Sonata in G minor and Teleman's Sonata in A minor. **How nice it would be if I could get the piano to play at my fancy so as to accompany my playing.** Forgive me, I am simply in a fantasy world. So if there was anything constructive about today, it was the practising and the reading.

Tomorrow is a public holiday. I shall go out for a walk tomorrow.

The palette

The palette
My choice of colours
So long as it reminds one
That the world could be beautiful

Too Noisy for Me

Fullerton Hotel, and Cavenagh River. Along Singapore River

Living in a world too noisy for me
I could only lend myself to distractions
To keep me sane from the noises
Nothing seems quite of relevance in that world

And so, exit
To a world that seems peaceful
Walk it on my own
Perhaps such world is too peaceful for others to share?

A read for Musicians in an orchestra

Came across this article, and found it quite an interesting read for those who play in an orchestra: Orchestras are "boozy cultures" by Pliable.

It seems like one can be exposed to many kinds of hazards when one is playing in an orchestra.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dual Universe

Showcasing one more piece of sculpture.

Presenting: Dual Universe, by Charles O. Perry
Two forms intertwine to become one as they whisper of the mysteries of space and time.

Untitled 29 Jan 06

To be in my world
Set your music to mine
It is now playing
Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 1 in B-flat minor

Feel the rhythms that I pace to
Move with the melodies that drive me
Experience my world
The way I have been


This is the 909-th post on this blog.

The very first post on this blog is dated: September 16, 2004. In a span of about 1 year and 4 months, I have posted 909 posts on this blog.

I thank Kunstemaecker for teaching me how I can find out the number of posts that I have written on this blog. I thank those who have visited this blog for their fellowship and words of encouragement. Life seemed easier to walk through when one gets support from a community of goodwill. Thank you.

Artificial light

Artificial light
An ingenius invention

Whose powers are incomparable to that of the sun

But at night it makes wonder
Bringing light to a world once so dark

Would it care to light up mine?

Homework and homework

First day of the lunar New Year.

To those who have sent me greetings, thank you and a Happy Chinese New Year to you and your loved ones.

Since my parents are only intending to visit one place today (i.e. my maternal grandmother's place), I have most of the day left to catch up on my rest and to work on the music theory homework that I was given.

I must have slept close to 12 hours from last night to the time that I woke up this morning. Pardon me, I have been feeling tired of this entire world lately. Hopefully the rest would help me recharge.

The topic for my last music theory lesson was First Inversions of Triads. My tutor explained the concepts and that helped in my understanding. There are now more rules to remember, and I found myself referring frequently to the notes while attempting to do my homework.

This week's homework is to complete three sets of questions whereby I am required to add the soprano, alto and tenor parts to the given basses. Each question took close to half an hour to complete. My music theory tutor told me that this was normal.

I like the challenge of attempting something new, and yet admittedly, when I found that doing the exercises was not as easy as it seems to be, I felt flustered. I guess that these are the normal experiences of learning.

My next piece of homework was to identify chords using the appropriate symbols of the extended roman system. Things got a bit more difficult when the 7th diatonic note was included. But otherwise, I have managed fine.

Next Thursday I will get a break from music theory classes because the music school declared next week as a week of holiday in view of the Chinese New Year season.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Open-heart and open-mind

Salvador Dali's Homage to Newton

I'll continue with the theme of sculptures. Food for thought:

The suspended heart indicates the "open-heartedness' and the open head represents an "open-mind". These two necessary qualities are important for the discovery of natural laws as well as for the success of all human endeavors.

For more, read: Sculptures.

The attempt to cheer

Ju Ming's Living World Series

Bid farewell but it is not as easy as it would seem

Attempt to cheer
Those whose world has faded to greys

Colour the world indeed

(The photo is dedicated to Cara, Msfeline, Mistipurple, Pinkie, Simple American and all fellow bloggers who need a cheer.)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Frozen in time

My apologies. I have not taken down the details for this piece of sculpture. If you happen to pass by Wisma Atria shopping mall, you may wish to check out this piece of sculpture.

Somehow in this sculpture, everything has froze in time.

The world passing away

Walked away
Into darker greys
The world is passing away

Could I not play its games?
My dreams are not meant for this world perhaps
Then I could step out
And paint the world in my own terms instead

Take a peep

I received an email from ArtsFest Club today, and the email updated me of the programmes for this year's Singapore Arts Festival.

Check this URL out for the details: http://singaporeartsfest.com/Programmes2006/index.htm

Some programmes that I would like to highlight:

The Oslo Philharmonic with Vassily Sinaisky ( Norway )
The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra is Norway 's most celebrated orchestra, and has since the early 1980s received worldwide recognition as an ensemble of high international standard. Eminent violinist Sarah Chang will be featured as a soloist in the programme.

Collegium Vocale Gent ( Belgium )
Founded by renowned Bach specialist Philippe Herreweghe in 1970, Collegium Vocale Gent has established a truly worldwide reputation in the classical music field in German baroque repertoire. They have become leading Bach performers of their generation and have toured to the United States , Japan , Hong Kong , Australia , Israel and South America.

Places to go on CNY

The Singapore History Museum's next Open House will be held on 31 Jan 2006. Free admission.

There will even be goodies bags given free for those who are dressed in red that day.

Please check out the post from this blog for more information: Chinese New Year Open House Programme at SHM.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Shades of Grey

Simple American has demanded for a picture of my smirk. But what is considered a "smirk"?


No prize for guessing where this photograph was taken.

An empty space


The Climb

Ng Eng Teng, The Climb, 1987, cement fondu.

This is a piece of sculptor which I came across when I was at Toa Payoh Central. It is a work by one of the late Singaporean artists, Ng Eng Teng.

Under the evening skies, this piece of work evokes a dash of melancholy.

How time flies

Aberdeen University, Hillhead Hostel

Royal Mail reminds me of the good times I had in Aberdeen.

Look harder, and you will see the signature red post-box in this picture. Found it?

Lastly, the date on this photo reminded me of how fast time could fly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Royal Mail

I have been feeling awfully tired for most of the day. Thank goodness that I am still in one good piece after the end of the day.

I shall write a post of gratitude for the nice things that have happened today. I hope doing so would help me to see hope and keep sane:

Things I am grateful for today:

- I've survived, today.
- I must have been rambling a lot of nonsense today. Thank goodness my colleagues and the folks I met today showed patience on me, and were kind to bear with my nonsense.
- Our orchestra finally rehearsed the Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17. It is a nice piano concerto.
- To be given the chance to demonstrate how to play the double bass to someone who wish to learn so.
- I have received a mail that was sent via Royal Mail. Thank you JY.

Now I have some questions: How do I brew coffee? Who will be kind enough to brew for me?

By the way, I prefer tea to coffee, and plain water to tea.

Not Sane

Not Sane
Feeling tired and still won't want to rest
Simply have yet to hear enough of the world's melancholy
So listening to nocturnes
Music that are inspired by the night
In hope to find beauty in a world so dark

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In a world one doesn't quite fit

It might be the night
The long day
The frustrations of getting nowhere

One doesn't seem to fit
The rest of the world around me
Non-chalance is merely the mask to face it
While seeking out for that world in one's dreams

Yet the same time
The individualism strikes
The need to stand out uniquely comes out bright
Sticking out becomes a form of self-expression

The world, it is not mine
Could try to mould it
Till it fits my model
And the pain is that one could only do so much
But so insignificantly little

Monday, January 23, 2006

Movie Preview

I badly needed a reason to be out tonight, so as to recharge.

It is perhaps of luck that I got myself a pair of complimentary tickets to a movie. A movie that was shown this evening at Prince1. I read that the particular movie will only be out in the theatres on 26 Jan 2006. This meant that I had just watched a movie preview.

Special thanks to Msfeline for watching the movie I Not Stupid Too with me.

The movie is fairly entertaining. I find the beginning too deliberately humourous, but as the movie progressed, it became more thought-provoking and moving. I like to see the movie as a social commentary that is filmed in an entertaining way. Hopefully, some of the messages in the movie stay in people's mind and help change people's mindsets on certain issues.

The night has arrived

Singapore River

When the night is approaching, it seems most appropriate to listen to Chopin's nocturnes. I continue to play the very same album of Chopin's Nocturnes performed by Arthur Rubinstein. I read that Chopin's nocturnes generally require less technical skills than do his scherzos, sonatas and ballades. Yet, it is the emotional depth that I love in Arthur Rubinstein's playing.

Then somehow, one's thoughts go in haphazard ways:

"Physical aches and pains remind me of my mortality. Yet, the will to do anything much is weak. Indulge in the beauty of the night. The night that is not all so beautiful, it comes with a tinge of pain. A tinge that actually runs very deep, but it is because of that melancholy, that makes the night so mysteriously beautiful."

"At times the moonlight shines on one's face. Fire-flies join in the play, fluttering about the entire garden. Then the darkness of the skies glowed mischievously in tinges of moving lights. That night full of wonders."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Nocturnes and more

Thanks to Msfeline, I had the pleasure to listen to Jay Chou's Nocturne from his latest album, November's Chopin this morning. I quite like the chorus of this song.

Yet, I think Chopin's Nocturnes are even nicer to listen to. I am biased in my preference of music.

I have renewed my library's premium membership yesterday, and today, I loaned this particular CD titled: The Rubinstein Collection: Frederic Chopin, 19 Nocturnes. I think Arthur Rubinstein has played and interpreted Chopin's Nocturnes very well. A master indeed.

Hopefully listening to Chopin's nocturnes could help to bring some sense of sanity to my life. The night sound more beautiful because it is now playing Chopin's Nocturnes. Enjoy this beauty of the night.

Let them shine through

Let the sunrays shine through

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The view far away

The view far away
Seems so out of reach
But walk step by step
One could get really close in the end


Sounds and associations

Feeling the blues and the loads of late. To attempt to recover my sanity, I decided to go out this afternoon.

First on the list was to visit the dentist. According to the recommended guidelines, one should visit a dentist at least twice a year (approximately once every six months) for a regular check-up. Yours truly must have been the most obedient person to abide to such guidelines?

To get to the dental clinic, I had to take a bus. I flagged for one and somehow when the bus-driver tried to use the brakes to put the bus to a halt, the wheels of the bus gave out screeching sounds. That made my ear-drums hurt. It was as if something was pierching through.

When I was at the dental clinic, I was greeted with what sounded like the sounds of the friction of some kind of dental equipment against the teeth. Sharp sounds like those felt straining to my teeth. Thank goodness I don't have a phobia of seeing dentist, or else I would have been deterred to make the visit. It was a good idea that there was a television set at the dental clinic and that the sounds from the television set have concealed some of those sharp sounds.

After the visit to the dentist, I headed for the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay. As I walked through the corridors of the Malls of the Esplanade, I saw a double bass standing in one of the shops, the Frank Brothers. I was tempted to go into the shop to try the double bass, but decided not to. While I have been wishing for a better double bass, I have really no real need for new one as yet. Maybe I would have been less restrained if I had a double bass bow with me earlier today? But I didn't have one. The truth is that when one is feeling the blues, one tends to be more passive to what is happening around oneself.

I continued walking, until I reached the library@esplanade. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that there was a public programme held at the library at the time when I was there.

The members of the NUS Piano Ensemble presented DACAPO to the audience at the library this afternoon. My favourites from the performance are: Dvorak's Slavonic Dance Op. 46 no. 2, Moszkowski's Spanish Dance Op. 12 No. 3. The players played fairly well. I heard that they have a concert coming up on 10 March 2006, 7.30 p.m, if you happen to be interested to listen to the NUS Piano Ensemble.

The music helped to lift the blues a bit. I could safely say: Music does soothe.

Somehow, the sight of the piano reminded me that if I were to wish to sit for the ABRSM Practical Exams (Double Bass), I would need to find a piano accompanist. Somehow, one must have a piano accompanist. I am beginning to wonder why this has to be so. But anyway, I have yet to decide whether I should take the Grade 8 Practical exams this year. I would need to decide soon, by 3 March 2006, if I wish to take the practical exams within this year.

Playing on the Personal Computer's multimedia system is an album by The Carpenters. Music shall soothe.

Earlier, Msfeline has kindly sent me a music file containing trance music. It sounded nice. I like the fact that I was able to control the volume and to listen to the trance music at a comfortable volume for my ears.

Msfeline said that trance music are supposed to be listened to at a very loud volume? Anyway, trance music played at a softer volume will be more acceptable for my ears. Thanks Msfeline for the introduction to trance music.

I think my ears are kind of sensitive, aren't they?

Getting nowhere

This morning I tried reading up on the chapter of First Inversions of Triads for my music theory classes next week. Folks out there, how do you try to remember all the rules of harmony?

I prefer to learn by understanding the rationale behind the rules, and not memorising and then following the rules. But I wonder whether it is realistic at Grade 6 Music Theory level for me to fully comprehend the rationale behind the rules.

Some of the rules for this topic include:
- Avoid VIIb-V, VIIb-IVa, VIIb-IVb; the effect is ungainly.
- In IIb-Va, it is always effective to double the bass of the former
- VIIb-Ia is a possible substitute for the perfect cadence, but it need not be used unless V-I is not possible on acccount of another note in a given bass.

It seems like all these came from experience of harmonising parts?

I don't feel quite well today. I realised that I could not read beyond the second half of the chapter. How demoralising things could feel at times.

Maybe I am just not feeling well. I need a break.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Can't get off the mind

The tune rings
Can't get it off the mind.

What's playing on the CD player: Brahms' Symphony No. 2. Performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. Taken from Brahms: The Complete Symphonies.

Maybe I just can't have enough of it?

Middle of the night

Tried to sleep
But the heart-beat was racing fast
Hard to shake off the pace of the external world
To go in line with one's natural pace

So one tries to find comfort
In listening to music in the middle of the night
Music of a slower tempo
Music that eases one

At times hear the struggles within
Seek resolution
When would that be reached?
Yet, with faith this would come

Listen deeply
One would hear music that speaks the heart
Now the challenge is
To know whether to believe in it

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The need to write

When the need to write
To express
To find an outlet
Exceeds the need to rest

One writes
Not rest

How to make classical music appeal to the masses?

The question rings in my mind whenever it is time to publicise for the concerts that I will be playing in.

Many would have the perceptions that classical music would make one sleep? Others think that this is not the kind of music that they would enjoy. These are all valid. People have different preferences and they make their choices accordingly.

I just wonder, who are the ones who would go to support the concerts by the various symphony orchestra? How should we encourage people to listen to classical music and find a liking in it? How does classical music stay relevant in today's society?

Trying too hard may lead one to feel burned out. Trying too little may impose further restrictions.

Anyway, for last night rehearsals, we rehearsed Mozart's Magic Flute, and the fourth movement of Brahms' Second Symphony.

Our orchestra's president told us that for the upcoming concert, because the orchestra has drew tickets from SISTICS at the bulk discount rates, it will be cheaper to get tickets through the orchestra than from SISTICS. In addition, one would get supposedly better seats by getting tickets through the orchestra.

If I extrapolate this, it may imply that until the orchestra makes a good name for itself, it would be easier to extend the circle of influence through the orchestra members. Afterall, there are indeed incentives for doing so.

Colour the world a bit

Fullerton Hotel and Cavenagh Bridge

To all who visit this blog:

Colour the world a bit
Feel the beauty of the evening skies

May those colours soothe one's pains
Yours and mine

The world is a strange place
It may look more beautiful
If seen from a different angle


Eslanade Bridge

Soon one is overtaxed
And one's energy gets depleted
So the attempt is to write
To dissipate the sense of fatigue
To find a voice to be heard
And to find a quiet space to recharge

One walks
What seems an endless road
In hope that the beautiful sights along the way
Would help make the journey less daunting

But one is getting tired
Soon, rest or reject this world

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Write a sad poem

I am feeling sad tonight
So much so that I have a need to write
It supersedes my need to take a break
For without finding ways of expression
One may find it hard to rest for the night

Write a doleful poem
But it is in no way a poem
Ask for the saddest tunes
So as to find an outlet of expression

Could I have a break?
Yet get closer to a world envisioned?

(Afterword: The photo reminds me of the boats on another post: Paths crossed by.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I am feeling very tired now, mentally and physically. My thoughts are slurring. I shall go to sleep very soon.

I am feeling so tired from everything that I shall take a few days of rest from blogging. If I could make a wish, I shall ask for the world to slow down to fit my pace and preferred way of life.

Does music cure irritability?

I had wanted to write a post about the Sunday rehearsal but had to postpone it till today.

Am I fated to be the lone double bassist? For several past Sunday rehearsals, I have been the one and only double bassist playing. Maybe Sunday is not a good day for rehearsals?

Yet, it was a comforting experience to play in the recent rehearsal. We played Brahms' Symphony No. 2, the first, second and third movement. I am feeling pleased that my proficiency in playing this work has improved from the times when I played it in Aberdeen during the trip to Aberdeen last year. The confidence in playing this work has also increased. Practice does matter.

Most time of that rehearsal was spent rehearsing the second movement of the symphony. I am biased, I have a liking for the inner movements of Brahms' symphonies. They speak to me. The tune from the second movement continued to ring in my mind after the rehearsals.

Admittedly, I felt quite irritable that day. But playing the second movement would urged one to put one's irritability aside, at least for a while. Music-making does help soothe one's soul.

As I write about the rehearsal, I can't help but to wonder who would be there to support the concert. Our orchestra's president told us that the orchestra members will have to sell at least 800 tickets in total. If I only include the stalls and the Circle 1 seats of the hall, that would only be close to 50%?

The details are as follow:

24 Feb 2006 (Fri), 7.30 p.m.
Venue: University Cultural Centre - Hall, National University of Singapore.

Tickets at $12 each.

We will be playing Brahms' Symphony No. 2, Mozart's Magic Flute and Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17.

Would you care to support this concert?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Beautiful Singapore River

Asian Civilisation Museum - Empress Place

You have read the accounts: An enriching tour.

Now, do have a look at the photos, found at: A Singapore River Walk

Back to much younger days?

Today, I felt like I was back to the times when I was in Primary School. In order to wake up in time for my early appointment (7 a.m.) with one of my clients today, I practised the discipline to sleep early last night.

Anyway, I was already feeling tired by 10 p.m. last night from doing the music theory exercises, the rehearsals and the crowds at Orchard Rd (I was there for dinner last night).

Strange dream that I had last night. I dreamt that I was late for the appointment and could not reach there in time. What a dream. It woke me up at 5.20 a.m. this morning with my heart beating fast.

Ever since I have graduated from junior college, it has not really been usual for me to wake up that early in the morning. Thank goodness that I am quite a morning person and sleeping early last night has helped.

Anyway, somehow waking up so early and being on the MRT train ride with quite a number of students who are travelling to their schools reminded me of the times when I was in secondary school. I had to wake up quite early to be in time for school. It usually took about 40 minutes to travel from home to school in the morning. So in those days, I would have to wake up when the skies were still dark and travel to school under the dark skies. Yet, there was delight in the peaceful dark skies at times. The air would feel refreshing in the early morning.

Anyway, I have managed to see my client this morning. Hopefully my client would reap a lot of benefits from this meeting. That alone will be enough to make up for the very slight inconvenience on my end.

From another perspective, there were blessings arising from this slight inconvenience. I could enjoy a refreshing morning air and a peaceful early morning skies.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

An enriching tour

Yesterday, I took a risk to go for one of the Original Singapore Walks' tours: By the Belly of the Carp - A Singapore River Walk. The sky was looking dark just before 6 p.m. last evening, and it actually drizzled for a very short while after 6 p.m.

Thank goodness that the weather decided to show mercy. Except for that slight drizzle, it did not rain last evening.

It is an enriching tour, lending one insights to the history behind the Singapore River. The guide also showed us photos of how Boat Quay had looked like in the 1980s. The current-day Boat Quay may not be performing the same function as it had in the distant past, but it certainly looks more inviting than it had used to be.

Pardon me, I did not know that there is an underground mosque (Moulana Mohamed Ali Mosque) at the basement UOB Plaza1 until yesterday. There is actually a story behind why it was built there. If you want to know, I suggest that you go for this particular Original Singapore Walks and find out for yourself.

If this would interest you, some of the places covered in this tour are: The Asian Civilisation Museum (Empress Place), Raffles Landing Site, Cavenagh Bridge, Boat Quay, the mosque and The Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay.

The tour also lended me insights on how life was for the coolies and other immigrants in the past. Life seemed very difficult in those times, and many were addicted to vices such as opium-smoking. The irony was while opium-smoking might alleviate the smokers of some of their pains and aches, it actually shortened their life-span significantly. I wonder what people of our times would do to alleviate our pains and aches? Hopefully, whatever are used will not be detrimental to our well-being.

I will look at the shophouses along Boat Quay with a different eye after attending the tour. I have walked along Boat Quay for many times over the past years of my life but I was never quite aware of some of the elaborate architectural design of some of the shophouses. Neither have I been quite aware that there was actually a sculpture of The Goddess of Mercy found along Boat Quay.

There is also a bumboat ride to complete the tour. The bumboat passed under the Elgin Bridge and below the Read Bridge. I had the pleasure to Clarke Quay at night from bumboat. The bumboat also took me and the rest of the tour group somewhere close to the Merlion Park so that we could catch a frontal view of the Merlion.

There is so much more to share about this tour. Yet, to enjoy this tour, one just have to be on it, than to read about it.

If you wish to experience this tour, please check out this site for the schedules and the details: The Original Singapore Walks.

I don't get a single fee for promoting it, but hopefully, more people would be aware of the existence of such good tours. Good things are meant to be shared, aren't they?

Updates on 29 Dec 2007: Please take note that this tour is now a personalised tour.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The eraser

I was doing the harmonising exercises about a few minutes ago, and found myself using the eraser very often. There is a tendency to brush those "eraser-dust" (what do you actually call them?) onto the floor, so the floor somehow feels more "flaky" than usual.

Somehow, the use of the eraser reminds me of the days when I was studying in lower Primary level when the teachers would recommend the pupils to use pencil to write out their answers to the various exercises. Maybe the teachers expect the students to make a lot of mistakes at that age, and it would be easier to correct their mistakes by erasing those mistakes with an eraser. Furthermore, at our times, correction fluids are often considered not safe for young children to use.

Similarly, I find it more convenient to use a pencil when doing music theory exercises. It is easier to use an eraser to erase off the mistakes on the manuscript paper, than to use a correction fluid to hide the mistakes away.

I am not sure if I am not in the moods for doing music theory exercises. The pace has been slow for the entire morning. There was this set of three bars that took me close to half-an-hour to harmonise. I am only half-way through for the harmonising exercises. The exercises are definitely getting more and more challenging.

I shall move on to read on the topic of transposing instruments after completing this week's set of harmonising exercises. That shall be the topic for next week's music theory lesson, and I was asked to read it in advance.

Hopefully, learning music theory will help me appreciate music better? This is one of my main reasons for taking up music theory classes.

Get acquainted with the Chinese culture

Chinese New Year is coming, but I have not much inclination to wish to join in the fun and merry of the festive season. Yet, I won't mind reading about the Chinese culture to understand the significance behind this important festival.

At the same time, there is more to the Chinese culture than the Chinese festivals: the Chinese literature, the Chinese language, Chinese food, the various Chinese performance arts and etc. There is so much more to know about and yet I feel I only know very little of my own culture.

I have studied Western art history in my secondary school years but have not been familiar with Chinese art history. I used to play in a Chinese orchestra but now am playing Western classical music most of the time.


Side-track a little, I have a feeling that Simple American and a few other bloggers who visit this blog may be interested to read more about Cantonese opera. This is a subject that yours truly will not be well-versed in.

However, the good news is that I chanced upon a blog that may lend some insights to the world of Cantonese opera. Check it out: http://frannxis.blogspot.com

For as the name of this post suggests, I shall make attempts to get acquainted with the Chinese culture.

Friday, January 13, 2006

At last!

At last! The weather has turned better today. It did not rain for most of day. If it did rain, it was merely a drizzle. It is nice to feel the warmth of the sunshine.

If the weather could remain good tomorrow, I shall go for the Original Singapore Walks tour: By the Belly of the Carp - A Singapore River Walk.

I have went on two of The Original Singapore Walks, and I think this is one of those very enriching tours that ought to be highly recommended. Maybe I am hungry to know more about the history of Singapore through these walks? Whatever it is, I have always found this series of tours to be well-backed up by lots of good research. I always felt more enriched after going for The Original Singapore Walks and I think that walk (By the Belly of the Carp - A Singapore River Walk) that I intend to go for will be equally insightful and interesting.

At last after close to 12 hours in the office, I am back home. Had stayed in office much longer than I had initially planned to. I guess the quiet environment to get some work done has been a pull factor. Still more back-logs awaiting to be cleared, cheer me on please.

It is nice to return home provided that no one turns on the television set, and that there is no more trade fair (locally known as "pasar malam" or night-market) operating near my block. I love an environment which does not bring noise to my ears.

I must have been lucky. I could come home and avoid doing most of the household chores. Pardon me, I think I am hopeless when it comes to domestic matters. Thank goodness that my husband, the double bass, does not have clothes to be washed or food to be cooked for him. The chores that I won't mind doing is simply to wash and dry the dishes, and keep my room neat (to my standards).

Today being a fine day with minimal rain and it happened to be my mother's day off from work, I believe she must have spent effort and time washing the clothes and putting them out to the sun to dry. She deserves a word of appreciation, doesn't she?

On the side note, I think I could have been one of the most difficult children to have if parents were to expect their children to help out with the domestic chores. I would rather spend my time elsewhere. But I won't mind making myself useful by playing the folks at home some music on the double bass or give them a short and basic art appreciation course on Impressionism. These are some things not everyone can do, aren't they? But I suspect if I were to share this suggestion with them, I may get a round of nagging.

Meantime, I shall enjoy the peace and quietness that the night has to offer. Cheers to the fact that no-one at home is watching the television today. I find there is a tendency for my family members to turn the volume of the television too loud for my ears.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thoughts On Death

Meme from Simple American.

You suffer a tragic accident. You have one minute before you will die? Mentally you are lucid and composed. You have your cell (mobile) phone convenient despite the accident. Who do you call?

I will call my maternal grandmother. She was the one who took care of me and my siblings when we were children and when our parents were out for work. I hope calling her will help her make some sense to my death, and bring her at least some closure and comfort for my unexpected death.

You are in a plane. The pilot informs you that the plane’s engines have failed and it will crash shortly. The plane is email capable and you have time enough to send five short emails. This is not your pc so your email address book is not available. The pc also only allows one email addy per email sent and you have no cut and paste feature available. Who do you write?

I will write to my younger brother since I know his email address by heart (and my parents don't have email address) and ask him to inform the immediate family members of the plane crashing soon, and to thank them for bearing with me these years.

I will write to Mystic to thank her for her friendship.

I will also write to J., to thank her for being there for lending me the company and much treasured friendship during those times I was down.

I think I will just stop at three, there are still many people to write to, but I think I would have difficulties mustering enough strength to go beyond three in that kind of situation.

You go to a regular check up and the doctor determines you have exactly 365 days to live. Fortunately, you have a disease that will not infirm you until the last few days of your life. Nothing in science will curtail this illness. Luckily, you purchased a great insurance policy for one million and it will payout once a doctor confirms your status. Bonus is this money cannot be taxed so you get the entire amount. What do you do for the last year of your life?

I'll put aside $400 000 to set up a trust fund to fund my parents' and maternal grandparents living expenses after my death. That could also be used to fund my brothers' education if they choose to go for higher education.

Another $400 000 goes to another trust fund to use for charitable causes. I shall get my two brothers to manage this trust fund, I am sure that they will manage it wisely.

The remaining shall go to fund me to travel about the world, alone. I think I would be feeling so confused about the news of an impending death that I would not make a good travel companion. Anyway, travelling alone often urges me to stay independent. Being alone can lend me the space that I might need to face the impending death, though I might feel lonely to be all alone facing it by myself. But I think I would not like showing that most vulnerable side of myself in front of another human being. If companionship is needed, I would consider sponsoring a friend or two to join me at certain points of my journey.

I hope to travel on foot about the Europe continent. But of course, I shall buy a two-way plane ticket to get me to a starting point somewhere in Europe first. I can't imagine myself walking all the way to Europe from Singapore.

Along the way, I could try to find double bass masters to give me a number of double bass classes. Then I could try to immerse in the culture. I wish to take some nice photos to share, and hopefully take short photography courses and other courses-of-interest while I am on the journey. If possible, I hope to visit China too and travel about on foot, just in hope to learn more about my own culture and heritage. Then before I pass away, I shall return to Singapore, and travel about Singapore on foot.

You can only say two things of importance to your children before you die. What do you say?

I don't have any children, and I don't think I would like to answer this. I think I am still too unwise to share wise lessons to the next generation.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The rain can kill

I am waiting for a day of good weather and it has yet to come.

Today, I claimed time-off in lieu and left office by mid afternoon. There was orchestra rehearsal in the evening, so I headed for the university.

Met Emily for dinner at one of the restaurants located within the university compounds. It is called Munchie Monkey.

For a price of no more than $10, I could get myself a serving of pumpkin soup and a plate of crayfish with pasta. While I had wished there could be more servings of crayfish, Emily told me that the servings at Munchie Monkey is considered generous for its price. Anyway, I quite like the hot tomato sauce in which the linguine was served with. It tasted good.

If the undergraduates are looking for a venue to enjoy affordable dining, this is one place to consider for its value-for-money. At least, eating at Munchie Monkey is likely to be much cheaper than eating in restaurants in the town area, and the quality of the food is quite comparable.

I had double bass sectional. It has been pleasant to have double bass lessons.

For orchestra rehearsal, I could not believe it that we had actually played the complete Brahms' Symphony No. 2 from the first movement to the fourth movement. I felt we were playing in a rather rushed fashion at certain points in time though. Maybe I have a secret fantasy for the world to slow down to my desired pace?

During the orchestra rehearsal 15-min break, Emily helped to give me some cadences identification exercises on the piano. But it looks like I would need much more help?

What is a killer is the weather. It was pouring heavily tonight. The heavy rain has made it dfficult for one to travel home. There were puddles of water everywhere, and I do not like wet grounds.

Pardon me, I am imagining the rain drops to be like heavy weights of liquid falling from the skies and when it hits one, it could kill. This is metaphorical perhaps? I think if the weather were to remain so wet and rainy for the next few days, my moods may really go down very soon. That feeling alone may be enough to kill?

So I decided to distract myself by listening to the rhythms of the falling raindrops. Nature do have a way to help one see things from a brighter perspective even though it may at the same time bring one to experience gloominess.

Keep warm meantime. The weather seems to be getting colder. Maybe the world is too?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Questions on cadences

Despite the rain, I have a need to be out of the home to just do as much walking as my feet could possibly bear. So I set off to Marina Square Shopping Mall for an early dinner before walking about the places in that very district. A pity that the library@esplanade was not opened today, so I had to find alternative places to do some reading up.

I tried to read up on the topic of Cadences and Simple Harmonisation this evening while sitting down on one of the benches located within a shopping mall. Thank goodness that that part of the shopping mall is relatively spacious and not too noisy for me.

There are still quite a number of concepts that I don't understand and now, music theory seems to be getting more and more complex. I think I would have lots of questions to ask when I attend the music theory class this coming Thursday.

Somehow, reading about cadences forced me to think over whether I should be taking Grade 8 practical in Double Bass this year. There is an aural section of the practical that requires one to identify what kind of cadences are being played.

Please pardon me, it must have been a lack of training, I still can't figure out on my own how to do so with accuracy and confidence. But I guess that comes with lots of listening and practising?

Hopefully, knowing the theory behind cadences would help me listen and identify cadences better?

Now, I am just trying my very best not to let the rainy weather get me down.

At the departure hall

Changi Airport Terminal 2, Viewing Mall.

It is 10 Jan 2006, Emily has written a post on what has transpired this morning and she has done a very good job. I shall refer you to her blog to read it: http://www.pinkified.blogspot.com.

One of my section mates, CH, has left for Japan this morning. Wishing her all the best in her endeavours.

I will miss her and playing with her in the orchestra.

Chinese New Year in Chinatown

If the attempts to try to look for joyful things to indulge in may make one happier, one would do so.

Surprisingly, the older I grow, the less joy I could derive from the Chinese New Year. Maybe it is because I start to associate Chinese New Year with loud music playing along the streets, people crowding the streets buying their festive goodies and the strange feeling of meeting so many of one's relatives within the span of a couple of days. These can become overloads to me when my preference is for a peaceful context where I could spend time just interacting with not-too-many people.

It is then blogs like Bullockcartwater that allowed me to get a preview of the festive moods while sitting back to watch the world go by. Then this is when I realised that the Chinese New Year is drawing near. The first day of the Chinese New Year is on 29 Jan 2006.

Actually, I would rather visit Chinatown to see the various heritage sites than to visit it to do shopping for the festive season. If I were to be alone, I would have shy away instantaneously from any single clue of crowd that I see.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Leave me for good

Maybe the folks should leave me for good?

I am starting to realise how I have gradually become dependent on others for their support and company. At times, I find myself reading others' blog regularly just in hope to find a post that I could relate to and lend some supportive comments. At times, I find myself eager to share my world with the unknown out there. At other times, I find myself checking my blog just to see who has left me a comment.

I know in this world, we are interdependent. I can't run away from that. But pardon my idiosyncrasies, I am just concerned that once I start to accept another being as a friend, I may seek the friendship so much that I may unintentionally end up losing it. Next of all, I value my independence, but I know I could never really be sanely alone for the rest of my life-time.

Please bear with my ramblings of the night. It has been raining for almost the entire day, and I am feeling rather melancholic from the wet weather. May the blues leave me soon enough.

Let's try again

Several posts ago, I wrote about making lots of mistakes for the second part of the harmony exercises that I had chosen to do in advance of the schedule.

Shall try to pick myself up.

About an hour ago, I started re-doing the entire second part of the harmony exercises. This time, with the learnings from the past mistakes, I felt I struggled less with the exercises. In addition, there was a slight increase in confidence that I could do the harmony exercises.

Next on the list is to read about cadences. I had browsed through the first few pages, but am not sure if I could manage to understand the topic.

I find that starting is often the hardest, at least for me.

The world is turning dark

I see no beauty in colours
My world is turning dark
Get away from me
Let me justify that this world isn't meant for me


Anderson Bridge. In the background, is Fullerton Hotel.

I looked at my sketch book sometime ago, and I saw that I hardly have much entries for the year 2005. But those sketches that I like are the ones that I have done of the Singapore River. Sketching, somehow, gets me connected with the places through my hand and the drawing pen.

I don't know why, but I realised that I seem to have a special liking for walking nearby and along the Singapore River.

Please join me in one of my walks along the Singapore River. You may wish to refer to a post on my other blog, Places, to read about Bridges along the Singapore River.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Chocolate perks one up

I believe J., Pinkie and Mistipurple, whom I suspect are chocolate-lovers will agree with me that chocolate can perk one up.

Attributing the depressed mood to the rain, I went out in the evening to look for a pair of non-slip walking shoes for myself.

I walked past one of the Godiva chocolatier shops. I decided to try the Chocolixir beverage. It is nice. I tried the Dark Chocolate Decadence drink. For your information, yours truly prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, and milk chocolate to white chocolate. While dark chocolate has a slightly bitter aftertaste, I find them more palatable to my taste. Too sweet a chocolate, and I may find it artificial.

The Chocolixir is nice and goes well with whipped cream. One could taste bits of the dark chocolate blended into the drink. The only thing I feel guilty of is that I am supposed to avoid drinking cold drinks for my throat tends to protest with excessive coughing after drinking cold drinks. Ya, I am coughing now. But I am not sure if it was due to the drink or because I am really going to be sick soon. Anyway, I shall not care, I needed something to perk my spirits up a little. The year has not start well as yet with all the rainy days.

For the shoes, I got myself a pair of Crocs shoes. This time, I got a pair of the professional design.

They get me down

Taken from Esplanade Park

Take it that rainy days get me down.

My mother must have been having the worst of days to actually wake me up from my afternoon nap to scold me for keeping one of the windows wide open. Actually, the window wasn't very wide open, but I did open it to improve the ventiliation.

Before I had taken the nap, the rain had stopped. Maybe today must have not been my day, it started very heavily while I was having a nap. As such, the rain fell and came indoors and made part of the floor and furniture near the windows wet.

While it was unintentional of me to left the windows open on a rainy day, I admit I should bear the full responsibilities for the wet floor.

But could I ask that even if one is deadly angry about the inconveniences that have been caused by the wet floor, that one does not wake someone up and start scolding the waking soul? I was trying to rest to feel better from a bugging headache and unwell throat. Waking one up with such unpleasant event is distressing and awfully confusing. I felt like I was being pushed to the end of one's life.

The cost of fighting such a battle of waking a sleepy person up over a wet floor is tremendously not worthwhile, won't it be? A sleepy person may need the rest badly, such unexpected waking of the person may cause rifts in relationship and doesn't earn the value in any relationship. But the wet floor, when the sun shines, it will dry up.

Maybe the lesson learnt is: when one feels like going into any temper outburst (no matter how bad one's day has been), please remember to weigh whether it is actually worthwhile to do so. Don't risk losing the bigger things in life over petty issues.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Slipped and fell

Wet days aren't my days.

Today, I was returning to office after making a homevisit to one of my clients' place. It was drizzling. The floor was wet and slippery.

The first occasion, I almost tripped and fell but found my balance. But I don't seem to be good to avoid the ill fate of falling. On the second occasion, I fell. Now my right wrist hurts a little and so is the right side of my leg and arm. It is not painful, but I am bothered by the fact that my right arm is aching from the fall.

Can you folks allow me to whine a little and pout for a short while?

*frowned face*

The thankful thing was: a kind lady who was walking to the nearby bus-stop with a little girl came towards me to ask if I was alright. She advised me to stand for a while and find my sense of balance before I start walking.

Maybe that is how the day was trying to be kind on me? Could the day be nicer on me? I don't quite wish to find enough reason to justify that the world was not meant for me.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Learning from Mistakes

Mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes.

That was the kind of thing that I had faced for my very first music theory class of the year. Thank goodness that my music theory tutor gave the permission for one to make mistakes and to learn from them. This, I think is very important.

I showed my theory tutor the harmony exercises that I was to show him for today's lesson. He went through, and found a few minor mistakes. I corrected them accordingly.

Now, the thing is, in the enthuasiasm to practise on doing more harmony exercises, I had actually went ahead of the lesson plan and did the homework that was only to be given to me after today's lesson. I was hoping to show my tutor my work in hope that he could affirm that I was on the right track. Yet, it was the contrary. I have made mistakes for almost all the eight exercises from that piece of work that I had done a little ahead in advance.

The eight exercises required me to add soprano, alto and tenor parts to the given bass parts. I did not realised that I have written my parts in such a way that I was trying to make it pretty difficult for myself to abide to the rules of harmony in the end.

There was a tendency for me to write the soprano parts a little too low. I tend to write the tenor parts "too close" to the bass parts. As such, in the end, I tend to end up with overlaps (for example the bass G note rises above the tenor F note in the previous chord). This meant that I would tend to break the rules, and that in harmony exercises at this level, is similar to making a mistake.

The most tricky thing is that I was not too good at spotting that I have made a mistake of overlapping the parts as yet. As such, I could be making that mistake happily without knowing.

Now I have to do the same eight exercises again, but now bearing in mind some of the practical suggestions that my music theory teacher has offered. Yet, I must be strange to think that this is getting fun. But it is. Hopefully, I can learn from my mistake and get the exercises done.

Next week, I am supposed to learn about cadences. I was just trying to read the first few pages on cadences on my own, but I was confused already when I was at the topic of plagal cadences. Gosh, I hope my doubts would soon be clarified.

By the way, how does one train one's ears to be aware of what kind of cadence is used at the end of a certain passage?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Haphazard writings

Yours truly might have an unconscious inclination to push herself to her deathbed? I am feeling tired but I still wish to blog. Take it that I am seeking to be better understood for now, in need to express myself and understand myself better. Writing gives me the freedom to be more of myself.

Could hardly have a good night rest last night. Maybe the forces of nature did not quite align with my energies, as such I could hardly sleep much last night? Forgive me, I am just trying to make sense of the world outside me, and the world within.

My wish has been granted, and I am feeling thankful. The orchestra played Brahms' Symphony No. 2 for the rehearsal tonight. We played the 2nd and 3rd movements. I like these two movements. Maybe I have been playing the 1st and 4th movements for quite many times, the 2nd and 3rd movement lended the necessary contrast. I like slow movements though I do admit I find them much difficult to play well than the fast movements. With slow movements, each and every nuance of one's playing matters much more, in my humble opinion.

Pardon me, I was almost only half-awake for tonight's rehearsal, and did not quite seem to hear what the conductor had been saying very well many of the times. I wonder if my mind has been blocked and my ears were affected? Had to rely on my section-mates many of the times for today's rehearsal to come in at the right time.

Despite the fact that I was not performing at my peak for today's rehearsal, I think it was one of the best thing that happened to me today. Today's rehearsal was the first rehearsal for the year 2006.

Tomorrow is music theory day. I have decided to continue taking music theory classes. It has so far been enriching. I am still working on harmony exercises. It has been a challenge to ensure that I try to follow the given rules when answering to these exercises. I quite like that challenge of applying new knowledge. It can be fun.

Tomorrow will be 5 Jan and it will be the birthday of one of my friends, Jing. Here's wishing her a Happy Birthday.

Today is a relatively rainy day. I took a taxi from workplace to the university to have dinner with Emily prior to the rehearsals.

Thanks to taxi services, I was able to reach home in less than 30 minutes after the rehearsals. Had I taken the MRT train or the bus, it would take about an hour or more to reach home.

With a headache that was bugging me about a few hours ago, taking a taxi home seemed to be a wiser option. It might land me home early and allow me to have some time to blog before midnight strikes. Now I wonder if I have been addicted to blogging? Engaging in a monologue with oneself in the world of words can be therapeutic sometimes.

There seems to be several changes to respond to lately. I do hope I have the strength and energy to manage the changes.

What lies ahead for the next day?

For now, the headache is actually gone, and I am not feeling as tired. But I shall rest soon. Good night.

How haphazard can this post be?

I am just writing what is going on in my mind.

Trying to make preparations

Tomorrow I am going to make a presentation to several teachers most whom I have never met. The purpose of the presentation is to give them an outline of a programme that we will be conducting in the school for students with low self-esteem. Yet, we alone cannot make things happen. We needed the teachers, who spend several hours every day with these students, to help us identify and refer students for the programme.

So in hope to make myself prepared for the presentation, I had considered the possibility of writing a post on self-esteem. But now, I am actually feeling quite tired from the long work day. The best I could muster is to cut-and-paste some of the relevant links so that I can read through them once again tomorrow.

Now, blogging can also be a good way to consolidate information regarding a particular topic, in this case, self-esteem.

It is alright if you were tell me that you are bored by this post. I am expecting that. But if you could please wish me all the best for the presentation, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

- http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content2/Strengthen_Children_Self.html
- http://www.more-selfesteem.com
- http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/self_esteem.html
- http://www.utexas.edu/student/cmhc/booklets/selfesteem/selfest.html
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-esteem

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Untitled 3 Jan 06

Singapore River. Taken on Cavenagh Bridge.

There is a sombre mood for much of the day. Yet, I shall be thankful that the skies have been so nice to me today. Greeting me this morning is a clear blue skies with nice-looking fluffy white clouds. As such, this long phrase was coined in my mind when I was on the way to work this morning. I made it part of my MSN nickname for the day. Now my nickname stands at "oceanskies: when darkness fills the eyes, look out to the beautiful skies and be soothed".

The world has been kind to me. This morning, on the way to work too, I received a nice and delightful text-message via the mobile phone from Socialpest today. So nice of socialpest. Thanks for the message, Ameera.

There has been quite a lot of work to do. That is an understatement. It is the first workday of the year and I really hope that the statement that I am making today is simply temporary. There's so much to do that I have not much time to respond or appropriately react to the many news around me. Cheer me on please my readers.

Maybe the world knows that I am someone who enjoys nice sights, as such the postcard from JY reached me today and I got to catch glimpses of how Hall's Croft looked like. Hall's Croft, according to the postcard, is the home of the physician John Hall, who married Shakespeare's eldest daughter. Timely arrival of the postcard to greet me with nice sights when I got home from work at about 10.20 p.m. tonight. Thanks JY.

So I should be feeling blessed. In fact I am. I am able to return home without having to worry whether I would have food for my next meal. Yet, that sense of gratitude just did not seem to have much effect to brighten that general dull feeling. How shall I get over it soon?

I was tempted to consider doing two long-day walks on the coming weekends. Yet, I am not sure if I should doing so. My feet are aching, and I am not sure if this was due to too much walking? I have been investing on comfortable shoes already, but are aching feet an indication that I need better shoes?

Let me distract myself: Talking about getting shoes, it reminds me that I am supposed to get new clothes. I dread the thought that the Chinese New Year is coming soon (29 and 30 Jan 2006 for this year). The Chinese has a custom of wearing new clothes for the Chinese New Year. I don't quite like to shop for new clothes. Firstly I don't like to be shopping with the crowds but it is now the festive seasons and most of the Chinese will be out shopping for new clothes for the New Year. Secondly, shopping has never been a therapy for me, at least when it comes to shopping for clothes. Please keep your fingers crossed that my mother won't breathe down my neck to get me to get new clothes.

Poor Mystic had so kindly accompanied me to shop for new clothes before last year's Chinese New Year, and I must have been one of the worst friends to go shopping with. I should thank her for bearing with me. I hardly bought a single thing after one entire day of walking and trying to shop.

So you could see, that there is a lot in life that one is grateful of. The sense of gratitude does cushion off some of the down moments in life, yet itself alone may not fight the blues away.

For now, I urge myself on. Tomorrow there will be orchestra rehearsal, and it shall be a better day, since it is the day for orchestra rehearsal. I hope we will be playing at least one movement from Brahms Symphony No. 2.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Changing the palette

Boat sailing past Empress Place. Singapore River.

Let me attempt to make the tone brighter by sharing a photo taken in colours. Hopefully, doing so may inject some life into this blog.

This photo was taken quite a while ago. The boats on the Singapore River have caught my interest. They are like vessels on the body of water, searching for a path that was meant for them. Actually, come to think of it, these boats are very sheltered ones. They have not been put to the tests of the strong currents of the stormy seas. They only know what life is in the idle and peaceful waters.

Maybe some amount of risks may wear the boats off, but it means that the boats could be out to see more adventures and gain more experiences?

Now I wonder, what do these boats look forward to each and every day?

After the rain

Raffles Place, Singapore.

It was New Year's eve. The time was slightly after 6.30 p.m. I had wanted to participate in a guided tour about the Singapore River, but the rainy weather made me change my plans that day.

Had dinner at Carl's Junior, an American hamburger chain, located at Robinson Tower. Perhaps because it was a Saturday evening and it was raining, there was not too much of a crowd at the restaurant. I like the idea of having to eat in a place where there isn't too much of a crowd. I like the taste of the criss-cut fries too.

After dinner, I realised that the rain had stopped. I walked about rather aimlessly hoping to find something nice to see. The eyesight seems declining at times and I think I must have subconsciously wanted to see as much as I can of the world around me, before it may turn dark unexpectedly. I hope this imagined thought will not become a reality.

As I walked, I found myself at Raffles Place, the place that you saw in the picture right above. There is so much history behind this place, I wish I could know more about it. I only know that Raffles Place used to be called Commercial Square before it was renamed in 1850s.

Anyway, I thought that the place had a touching sense of melancholy after the rain, and decided to capture the scene on digital film. I started with capturing the scene in colour, but later experimented with the monochromatic sepia colour. I think a monochromatic tone could best bring out the lines and the contrast, as well as the melancholic mood.

I must have been engrossed with the possibilities of taking shots in monochromatic mode. That very day, I went on taking several photos in a monochromatic colour scheme. The colours have been taken away, but the lines remain strong and vivid.

Dispirited rants

Taken from Merlion Park, Singapore.

I am not sure if I have fallen ill. The head seemed so heavy just now.

About an hour ago, I was practising on my husband, the double bass. Yet, moods and motivations were low and I did not go beyond practising for 20 minutes. Merely did some exercises and soon the head seemed heavy again.

The thing that I have to be thankful for is that I actually did not sound too bad on my instrument even though I have neglected this husband of mine for at least a month. I have no inclination to play on it and fight against the noises of the trade fair while the fair was on. This husband of mine must have been the most obliging ones around for me. He made no protest that I had neglected him for so long, and yet sound so nicely when I return to him again.

Maybe my body is urging me to rest? For in my mind, I have not much mood to be out travelling on my foot today. Yet, it has been stifling to be at home wondering what is wrong with oneself.

What may make me feel more alive?

Down to the essentials

Merlion, Singapore.

Not face the world
Just be in one's world
Would such moments of solitude and reflection
Lend one some insights to this confusing world?

Colours have been stripped away
All things now bare minimum
Then one's eyes may now see the essential
Which had been hard to see when colours were around to distract

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Remembering the heroes

Tonight is perhaps one of the more quiet nights that I have. It is New Year's Day and the constructions at the construction site near my home have decided it is a day for the workers to take a deserving break. Those workers are the everyday unsung heroes who help make those buildings we use possible.

If we were to open our eyes a little wider, the unsung heroes could be found everywhere. In this post, I like to pay tribute to the heroes who have fought bravely, many who have ended up sacrificing their lives, all in hope that the rest of us could live in freedom and peace.

This afternoon, thanks to the weather being kind on me, I went to this museum named: Reflections at Bukit Chandu. Bukit Chandu means "Opium Hill". The hill probably got its name after the British-owned opium packing plant which was established on the foot of the hill round about 1910.

The hill offers quite a peaceful environment and if we were to walk a little further from the museum, we may find ourselves at spots that offer scenic views.

The museum is housed in a restored colonial house. It tells of the Battle of Pasir Panjang that occured on 14 Feb 1942 where thousand brave soldiers from the Malay Regiment fought against the odds, against the invading Japanese soldiers.

The soldiers of the Malay Regiment were greatly outnumbered by the Japanese. At the same time, they had limited ammunition. Yet, they fought bravely. When their ammunition ran out, I understand that they fought hand-to-hand battle with the invading enemy then.

I was looking for information on this museum, and I especially like this which I shall quote for your reflection:
Reflection at Bukit Chandu is not just another World War II Centre. It is also a place for people to reflect on Singapore’s heritage of heroism, and the deeds of people who valued honour, courage and dedication above their own lives.

This was not my first time at the museum, but I still felt touched by the courage and dedication that those soldiers have displayed.

My favourite exhibits were:
- Battle For Singapore!: It gives a vivid snapshot of the Japanese invasion of Singapore from 7 - 15 Feb 1942. I felt I attended a good history lesson within a span of ten minutes.
- Bukit Chandu Theatre: Through the use of very good multmedia and sound effects, it gave me a better understanding of what the soldiers from the Malay Regiment might be facing when they were bravely fighting against the invaders.

I end this post with a salute to these heroes.

For more photos, visit: Reflections at Bukit Chandu and Kent Ridge Park on my other blog.

- http://www.s1942.org.sg/bukit_chandu/homepage.htm
- http://www.nhb.gov.sg/MCC/VisitorInfo/RBC/

Yet another rainy New Year's Day

Today's post shall be an incoherent one, if it does not make any sense to you, it was meant to be.

1 Jan 2006: I looked back to my posts dated exactly a year ago. This made me realised that this year's New Year's Day is yet another rainy New Year's Day.

The rainy weather has made me feel rather sad this morning, for no particular reason. There seems nothing much to look forward to in the year of 2006 as yet. I just hope I am feeling this way because I am currently in a mode of allowing things to unfold by themselves. As such, it wasn't too unexpected that I have not made any particular resolution for this year.

Rushing to make a resolution simply because it is the start of a commonly regarded start of the year may not necessary be the best thing to do. One may make premature plans which may not be seen through. Life might be a much bigger picture in itself, but I have no wisdom as yet to see that bigger picture. As such, bear with me that I don't even know how to take the smaller steps that are necessary to reach that larger vision I might have been born to seek.

Hidden within oneself, there could be energy enough to do significant things. But the energy feels rather unfocused still. Yours truly is still in a mode of searching for a way to harness that energy and to make it to better use. "In which direction/s?" That is the constant question in the mind.

Since no clear direction has been found, the next best way to live through life seems to be to let it unfold, and attempt to seek for those vague visions that have been flashing in one's mind.

Am lost, clueless. The rainy weather made the mood feel worse.

But I am thankful actually. For despite much amount of rain, the weather has been kind to offer about 4 hours of relatively good weather this afternoon for me to take a walk near Kent Ridge Park. I am thankful too, that there is this space I could call my own to express and attempt to make sense of things. If not, I fear my moods might have been much much darker.

Maybe tomorrow may get better? Be it rain or shine.

Year 2006 is here

My first moments of the year 2006 were spent standing by the window of my room trying to catch an obstructed view of the fireworks from the Marina Bay Countdown. The fireworks last for what seem to be as long as ten minutes.

Even though I had an obstructed view of the fireworks from my windows, the fireworks still looked lovely from where I stood. Maybe I would have appreciate more of its beauty had I been nearer the site where the fireworks are lit up to the skies. Yet, when one lost some, one may gain some others?


I was actually at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay in the evening yesterday, but decided to eventually head for home. I was too tired to wish to be in the crowd. All I ask for the New Year is peace. World peace and peace of my mind. Home now offers a slightly more peaceful environment with the ending of the trade fair.

The thing about staying home when people are out for count-down events is that one avoids being stuck in the crowd. In addition, one could easily head for sleepland soon after the count-down is over, and not have to stay up too late in the night. Pardon me, as you could guessed from the tone of my writing, I have not been a night-person.

For now, I am starting to feel envious of and happy for Msfeline for being able to catch the fireworks at Marina Bay. It must have been delightful. May the beautiful sights of the fireworks bring her lots of goodwill and fulfilment for the year of 2006.

Wishing the same for all of your too. Wishing you a year of lots of goodwill, fulfilment and peace.